Clinical Pastoral Education

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is a distinctive learning process that helps individuals develop effectiveness in ministry.

The goals of CPE are to foster growth in four areas: the ability to be reflective about the personal and professional dimensions of the practice of ministry; formation and integration of pastoral identity in the context of covenantal relationships; competence in the skills of pastoral care; and expertise in areas of pastoral specialization.

Several features make CPE distinctive

CPE is distinctive because it is:

  • Experience-based learning: Students spend half or more of their time in the actual experience of ministry, providing care and learning from the persons with whom they are in ministry.
  • Student centered: Although a basic curriculum is provided, the emphasis is on the student's determination of what she or he needs to learn in order to grow in effectiveness.
  • Deeply personal and intensely interpersonal: The learning process relies heavily on a small group of peers dedicated to a covenant of mutual learning in order to develop the habits of a reflective professional.


Program units of Level 1 and Level 2 CPE at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center are accredited by:

ACPE: The Standard for Spiritual Care and Education

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